Best Winter Fishing Gear for Your Colorado Fishing Trip | Fly Fishing Colorado
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Best Winter Fishing Gear for Your Colorado Fishing Trip

Colorado winter fishing

Fishing in Colorado is a year-round activity, but summer and winter fishing have many differences. Those who are looking to do some winter fishing must have different strategies and gear for success on the water. Here are insights to gear and tips for winter angling in Colorado.

  1. First you need to consider what you will be wearing during your winter fishing trip

    • We will start with the wading boots. Be sure to use rubber soled boots opposed to felt because rubber soles will keep from accumulating ice and snow.
    • A good base layer is the foundation to a comfortable day fishing. Merino wool tops and bottoms will work best for the cold winter months.
    • Quality outerwear is important to making your winter fishing enjoyable. Don’t leave the house without  a windstopper softshell, a heavy river wading jacket, a fleece hoodie and an insulated beanie.
    • Finding the right gloves for you is an important choice. Test out different gloves and find out with is more important for you; snug fit and extra warm or larger gloves that allow mobility during fishing.
    • Don’t forget the eyewear. UV rays will reflect off the water and snow in the area, so protecting the eyes is a must. Be sure to bring a cloth to wipe sweat and fog off the glasses.
    • Hydration systems are a must as well. Products like Osprey Hydration Packs will offer additional storage as well as holding your hydration reservoir. Water can freeze in the tube so be sure to keep it close to your body for warmth. You can buy insulated tubes that ensure there will be no freezing.
  2. Don’t leave the house without the following fishing gear

    • You cannot go fishing without a winter tailwater fly rod. Medium action 4-5wt rods work well for light tippet and short casts on winter tailgaters.
    • When fishing in near zero degree temps, all fly line gets brittle. Use heavier lines in the winter so they won’t break on you.  
    • The Ketchum Release Hook Removing Tool is incredibly important for winter fishing. Simply slide the end down the line and knock the hook out without ever touching the fish or having to take your gloves off.
  3. Final fishing tips before you get out on the river

    • Rig up before you head to the river. Chances are in the winter you will have a pretty good idea of what you should be fishing with since midges are about the only thing hatching.
    • One thing to always triple check in the winter is that your barbs are smashed! The less you have to handle the fish, the warmer your hands stay.  If you are wearing mittens, get the ones that you can still squeeze with your mittens on.
    • Handle Less Fish. Be selective about the fish you fish for.  Look for the fish you want to catch and ignore the little guys. Little fish love to tangle rigs and handling a bunch of small fish will get your hands colder much sooner. For the fish you do catch, I would highly recommend carrying a catch and release tool in the winter.
    • Keep ice out of the Guides. Getting the guides iced up has to be one of the most frustrating parts of winter fishing. The best way we have found to keep our guides ice free is to strip out a set amount of line and then don’t strip the line. On most tailwaters in Colorado, you are making short casts in the winter month. By high sticking and fishing a fixed amount of line, it is not necessary in most cases to strip line in through the drift. This keeps water droplets off the guides. Beyond that, we’ve found the Stanley’s Ice Off to work exceptionally well in the winter.

Follow these tips and get the necessary gear and you will have a great time fishing in Colorado this winter!


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